Brett Glass has been working toward this day for quite some time.
The 29-year-old football coach who has spent the last six years on the sidelines of Jonathan Alder High School games on Friday nights, the last five as the Pioneers’ defensive coordinator, was recently named the school’s head varsity coach.
“I’m very, very excited and humbled by this opportunity,” Glass said. “It’s something I’ve thought about for years. I started coaching here six years ago, but I probably thought about it going back to when I was a player.”
Glass takes over the Pioneers program he played for as a high school student and quickly returned to after college to serve as an assistant coach. As a young coach he brings a new energy and breathes fresh air into a program that’s struggled the last two years after 11 straight years of state playoff appearances.
“I think I’m extremely passionate about what I do and the kids pick up on that,” Glass said. “I’m full of energy and passion and I think that comes out in how I coach. I’m excited about this opportunity.”
Alder director of athletics Tom Vargo went through more than 50 applications for the new coach and interviewed more than a dozen of them. But as the progress went deeper, he realized the best guy for the position was the first he had interviewed and the one closest to the program.
“The kids have faith in Brett,” Vargo said. “They know what he’s like and he knows them. He knows what it’s like to be here and understands our tradition at Jonathan Alder. He’s going to do a great job.”
Glass addressed his team earlier this week and shared with them his thoughts on the future.
“I told the kids (Tuesday) that we’ve got great tradition here at Alder and we need to embrace it,” he said. “Our program isn’t broken, we’ve hit some speed bumps in the last couple years, and it’s now their turn to start building on it.”
The decision on whether or not he’ll continue to call plays on defense or switch over to the other side of the ball hasn’t been decided yet, but Glass said you can bet he’ll have input on everything involving the program.
“That’s still up in the air, but I’ll have a hand in on both sides of the ball,” Glass said.
Glass’ first team will be filled with a bunch of younger players who cut their teeth as varsity players a year ago when the Pioneers struggled through a 3-7 campaign. The squad was 4-5 the year prior.
“It’s going to help having young guys who have significant varsity experience already,” Glass said. “Having been here, I know what guys can do. We’ve got a lot of guys coming back and we’re going to do a lot of similar things. There are going to be some changes too.”
The new coach said he wants his Pioneers teams to play with the same type of passion he coaches with.
“I expect great effort every day,” he said. “I want us to show what Plain City and Jonathan Alder kids are all about. I want kids that are going to play hard and compete. We’re going to be a disciplined football team that’s not going to beat itself.”
Glass is a 2003 Jonathan Alder High School graduate who went on to play football and baseball at Washington Jefferson in Pennsylvania. After a year he transferred to Otterbein University where he finished his final three years of college.
The coach reiterated that he thinks the Alder football program is just fine and that a few minor tweaks and changes will take place.
“There won’t be any wholesale changes, things aren’t broken,” he said. “A couple changes here or there and putting some of my philosophies and little changes in and I think we’ll be just fine.”
Glass, who works in the building now and will teach science starting next year, said he’s ready to make the jump from assistant to head coach.
“Any time you haven’t been a head coach there’s going to be a little concern,” he said. “There’s going to be a learning curve. But I’ve prepared for this for a long time. I’m ready, there’s no question. I’ve learned under two great coaches in Steve Coate and Barry Blackstone. I’ve picked up things I like along the way and it’s time.”
“I think the reason we got so much interest in this position is because our program has been very good for so long,” Vargo said. “We’ve had stability in our coaching staff, guys have come and been here for a long time. I expect Brett to be here for a long time too.”
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 18 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.